The Freedom House Survey for 2020: Democracy in a Year of Crisis

Issue Date April 2021
Volume 32
Issue 2
Page Numbers 45–60
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Freedom House’s latest Freedom in the World report found that 2020 marked the fifteenth consecutive year of decline in global freedom, with countries where freedom deteriorated outnumbering those where it improved by the largest margin since the negative trend began. Authoritarian governments exploited the covid-19 pandemic to consolidate power and crack down on dissent, and international democratic norms continued to erode, contributing to armed conflicts and impunity for human-rights violations. Grassroots protest movements encountered harsh repression in many settings, dimming hopes for reform, while major democracies such as the United States and India experienced further setbacks, with the latter dropping into the Partly Free category for the first time in decades. Nevertheless, Free countries generally proved more resilient than their Partly Free and Not Free counterparts, and ordinary people around the world persisted in demanding the benefits of democratic governance.

About the Authors

Sarah Repucci

Sarah Repucci is vice-president of research and analysis at Freedom House.

View all work by Sarah Repucci

Amy Slipowitz

Amy Slipowitz is research manager for Freedom in the World at Freedom House.

View all work by Amy Slipowitz